BASF increases capacity of its global plastic additives production network

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Within the next five years, BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) plans to invest globally more than EUR200 million in its plastic additives business, approximately half of which in Asia, focusing on capacity expansions and operational excellence, said the producer on its site.

Plastic additives improve product properties such as scratch resistance or light stability, and optimize plastics manufacturing processes. As the leading global supplier of plastic additives with manufacturing assets in all regions, BASF is a major partner to the plastics industry.

"BASF will strengthen its plastic additives business with investments in additional capacities to meet increasing global demand for antioxidants, as well as light stabilizers. Moreover, we will invest in digital processes and technology to support our customers as a reliable supplier in all regions," says Christian Fischer, president, BASF Performance Chemicals division.

The planned set of measures focuses on capacity expansions at sites in North America and Europe as well as investments in automation, digital technologies and modeling. In addition, BASF plans to strengthen its plastic additives production footprint in Asia.

In addition to investments, innovation remains an integral part of BASF’s business strategy. At the K Fair in Du?sseldorf, Germany, BASF’s plastic additives business recently launched two new light stabilizers:

Tinuvin 880, based on a new chemistry, is a medium molecular weight light stabilizer that provides significantly improved light stability, especially in interior car applications with the additional benefit of offering higher thermal stability.

Tinuvin XT 55 provides formulators with very good durability and excellent secondary properties such as color stability, gas fading and extraction resistance. Using this new solution, an excellent cost performance will be achieved by adjusting dosage and other formulation components to end application conditions and expectations.

Both products are undergoing sampling at key customers.

As MRC informed earlier, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of the industrial coatings business of German chemicals company BASF by AkzoNobel of the Netherlands.

BASF is the largest diversified chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries. BASF had sales of over EUR74 billion in 2014 and over 113,000 employees as of the end of the year.

Pemex plans crude processing ramp-up by year-end

МOSCOW (MRC) -- Mexico's state oil company Pemex plans to ramp up crude processing to 960 Mbpd from 920 Mbpd by the end of the year, after refining hit the lowest levels in at least five years in September following a series of plant stoppages, said Reuters.

Carlos Murrieta, director general of Pemex's industrial transformation subsidiary, said on Monday that the company would spend around USD120 MM by year-end on maintenance at 24 units halted at its six domestic refineries.

"We are making a big effort to designate resources that we are moving from different parts toward maintenance ... and our expectation is to reach levels above 1.1 MMbpd by March/April," the official said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Pemex's six refineries have a combined processing capacity of 1.64 MMbpd, but Murrieta said the optimal processing level would be between 1.20 MMbpd and 1.25 MMbpd, or around 75% of total capacity. He also said that in 2017 the company would ramp up spending on the maintenance of refineries, many of which have faced unscheduled stoppages.

Still, the company's crude oil exports rose to 1.42 MMbpd in September, as the company increased oil shipments to Europe and the Middle East. The company, which has struggled with falling production and a hefty debt load, has been hit by lower oil revenues. Pemex's production fell to about 2.1 MMbpd at the end of September, or down nearly 8% versus levels at the end of 2015.

However, the company expects to stabilize its finances by 2019-2020. Murrieta said the company hopes to seal tie-ups at refineries in Tula, Salina Cruz, and Salamanca, although it would aim to keep stakes of least 50%.

"What we see is a refinery where they (the partners) participate," he said. "We offer our existing infrastructure, our partner puts up capital, we reconfigure it and become joint owners," he said.

"I would expect that by the middle of next year, there will be solid news," he said, when asked when Pemex expected to seal the first such alliance.

As MRC informed earlier, in April 2016, a massive explosion rocked Pemex in the Gulf state of Veracruz on Wednesday, killing at least three people, injuring dozens more, and pumping a cloud of noxious chemicals into the sky. Three people had died in the blast and as many as 45 were injured.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene.

ExxonMobil launches Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis in Middle East oil and gas sector

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil has launched Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis, a next generation used oil analysis service, which replaces ExxonMobil’s Signum Oil Analysis, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The service can help to maximize productivity by enabling oil and gas operators to combat the maintenance challenges associated with the geographical conditions in the Middle East. The remote and harsh environment of the Middle East desert can place oil and gas equipment under severe strain. This can pose significant maintenance challenges, potentially leading to unscheduled downtime of critical equipment and millions of dollars in cost.

Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis can help engineers address these challenges. Lubricants play a key role in the performance and reliability of equipment. By examining changes in the oil analysis data over time, also known as "trending," it is possible to better assess the condition of both the oil and the machine and help proactively address undesirable conditions before they become serious problems.

The program offers a comprehensive range of 25 different analysis options, allowing customers to track productivity and spot anomalies. When monitored regularly, the service can help to enhance equipment reliability and lubricant consumption. It can also help to extend oil drain intervals, which can reduce operational costs and improve safety by minimizing intervention with machinery.

Mobil Serv Lubricant Analysis takes preventive maintenance to the next level by offering features such as a mobile app, scan-and-go bottles and flexible analysis capabilities. The introduction of the paperless scan-and-go technology with QR Codes means that customers can now more quickly and easily deliver samples to ExxonMobil’s oil analysis laboratory. Results and customized equipment recommendations can now also be accessed via mobile or tablet devices using a cloud-based app. This benefit is particularly critical for the remote locations typical of oil and gas sites, ensuring that on-site engineers have full access to their accounts and can monitor performance virtually, regardless where they are based.

"Significant capital expenditure is required for oil and gas operations. Pair this with the harsh climate conditions of the Middle East and th potential impact on equipment, and it’s clear to see why site managers can’t afford to not invest in leading oil condition monitoring technology," said Ayman Ali, ExxonMobil’s industrial marketing adviser for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. "The launch of this new service builds on ExxonMobil’s long tradition of providing innovative lubrication solutions, enabling companies to extend oil drain intervals and, in turn, benefit from reduced maintenance costs and improved efficiency."

As MRC informed earlier, ExxonMobil is introducing low viscosity Vistamaxx performance polymers that can be used to maintain or improve cycle times of injection molded or extruded applications. Vistamaxx 8880 improves the flow and processing of polyolefin compounds which contain Vistamaxx 6202 or 6502, or are heavily filled.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.

Abu Dhabi plans substantial investments in petrochemicals

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Abu Dhabi Inc plans to grow substantially in petrochemicals as part of its strategy to diversify away from oil through technology-driven industries, as per Plastemart with reference to

State oil company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), last week won approval from the top decision-making body, the Supreme Petroleum Council, to set a target to grow UAE petrochemical output by more than 150% over the next 9 years, to 11.4 mln tpa.

At the same time, the energy minister Suhail Al Mazrouei set out a vision for the UAE’s petrochemical interests controlled by the International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic), of which he is the managing director, to aim for ambitious expansion.

The core Abu Dhabi petrochemicals group comprises Borealis, with its main operations in Europe, where it is ranked as the second-largest maker of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are used to produce plastics. Then there is the Borouge joint venture in Abu Dhabi, 60% owned by Adnoc and 40% by Bor­ealis, and also Nova Chemicals in North America, which was acquired by Ipic during the sev­ere downturn in the industry in 2009, when LyondellBasell had to file for bankruptcy protection.

The expansion of the UAE’s petrochemicals capacity will follow the fourth and fifth stage phases at Borouge, which will grow output by more than 1.5 times and add product lines as the feedstock changes from ethane gas to mixed ethane and naphtha, a liquid byproduct of the adjacent Adnoc refinery at Ruwais, which itself doubled output last year to 900,000 bpd.

As MRC informed before, in 2015 UAE-based Borouge, a manufacturer of polyoleofins, opened part of its new packaging facility at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port, which would enhance the companyп's exports to the rest of the world. The new facility was designed and constructed after a joint agreement was signed between Borouge and Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT) in June 2014

Total signs first post-sanctions Western energy deal with Iran

MOSCOW (MRC) -- France's Total, Europe’s third-largest oil company, has signed a deal with Iran to further develop its part of the world's largest gas field, becoming the first western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions earlier this year, as per Reuters.

Total confirmed on Tuesday it had signed a heads of agreement with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for the Phase 11 development of South Pars in the Gulf, which extends into Qatari waters where it is known as the North field.

The SP11 project will progress in two stages, the first costing an estimated USD2 billion, Total said. The produced gas will be fed into Iran's gas network.

The French company has already played a key role in Iran's energy industry, including the development of phases 2 and 3 of South Pars in the 2000s, before pulling out of the country after international sanctions were imposed in 2010.

Foreign companies keen to tap into Iran's vast oil and gas reserves have so far made little inroads into the country despite the lifting of many sanctions earlier this year following a landmark agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

Tehran has pledged to open up its oil industry but foreign companies, including BP and Italy's Eni recently said they still have little information about Iranian oil fields and contract terms, hindering investment decisions.

Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne, who has taken some major investment decisions in recent years despite one of the sector's longest downturns, said the agreement "resulted in an attractive commercial framework."

Total said it would operate the SP11 project and have a 50.1 percent stake in it. Petropars, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, will have a 19.9 percent stake while state-China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will have a 30 percent stake.

The development will have a production capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day, or 370,000 barrels of oil equivalent, with output to be fed into Iran's gas network.

"This project fits with the group's strategy of expanding its presence in the Middle East, where the origins of the group lie, and growing its gas portfolio by adding low unit cost, long plateau gas assets," Pouyanne said in a statement.

Total will develop the project in compliance with national and international laws and the investment will be undertaken without bank finance, he told reporters.

As MRC reported before, in the first half of August 2016, Total S.A. embarked on studies and economic evaluation for construction of a petrochemical complex in Iran’s Parsian Special Economic Energy Zone. Total is after building a petrochemical complex in Iran for producing various grades of polyethylene (PE). Undoubtedly, Total oil company of France has been the most active European firm in the Iranian oil, gas and petrochemical industries over the past six months. The French company had conducted several talks with Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI), National Petrochemical Company (NPC) as well as with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.